Lorie Therese Locara’s Resume and Portfolio

On Seeking Change

To Reach the Top

Today’s society is no longer confined to territorial and cultural boundaries. Today, we are experiencing the age of the global community, where information can be passed through countries in the speed of seconds. Cultures are increasingly merging into one melting pot where the West borrows from the East, and vice-versa. With cultural integration, values are also merging. So much so, that the global arena has become a cut-throat marketplace where excellence and skill are valued, and competitiveness is the foremost motivation for moving up the global corporate ladder.

Sadly, I believe today’s Filipino graduate may be less than ready to face the cut-throat world out there. I believe that our educational system has placed too much emphasis on spoonfeeding our youth with useless facts, while neglecting to impart to the hungry Filipino student the skills needed to ferret information on his own. I too, have just graduated from college, but I count myself fortunate for the opportunity to have been schooled in the best government schools, where not only my critical thinking has been honed, but also the desire to help this country has been burned into the walls of my heart.

It saddens me that most of my peers have languished at home for two or more years, unemployed. It saddens me that they lack the skills to compete in the outsourcing market, what with their critical thinking left underdeveloped, and their English proficiency wanting. I am only so grateful that I have been given the gift of an inquisitive mind that enabled me to pick up much-needed skills despite not going through formal training in them.

What made me think about this was my remembering that I had started working in my third year of college, in my desperation to provide for my wants on my own. From January 2006, I have worked in different jobs, and I have finally settled into the niche I want to burrow into for quite a while: outsourcing.

It is a sad fact that many young adults my age cannot even get into call centers. In contrast, I was just amazed that I was able to build a form of a career, working at home, while being in school at the same time.

I do not mean to boast, if I come across as boasting. What I am trying to get at is that, the Filipino educational system should be modified to teach the youth the skills they need for life. The educational system should serve to hone the minds of the students and gear them up for becoming resourceful problem-solvers. I also believe that the entrepreneurial spirit should be imbued in the youth. Not only would this boost the economy, but this would also infect the Filipinos with the excellence bug.

I believe that being one’s own boss paves the way for a person to become excellent. Because in his hands lies his own success or his own ruin. If he aims to succeed, he cannot afford to be less than the best in what he does.

And yet, I see promise for the Filipino youth. With the age of the Internet, information is ready at the click of a mouse. I believe that the Internet has changed the landscape of personal development as, if only one wants so badly to learn, he can get all the information and knowledge that he needs, starting from Google.

Well, if the Filipino youth pries himself from Friendster and starts to use the Internet for personal evolution, skills acquisition and even moneymaking, we will grow into the next IT hub within the next ten years. Meanwhile, I’ll just lurk in my own corner of cyberspace, learn as much as I can, and make money in the process. Maybe later, I’ll teach others how I’ve made it… When I have. : )

A Silent Revolution

Wars in Iraq, Mindanao and the mountains of Luzon. Teenage pregnancies left and right. Abortions done in secret. Vices, lies, deception, corruption. It seems to me that people nowadays do not know right from wrong. The stark lines once separating truth from falsity have blurred. Where have our values gone?

Today’s society is riddled with ills. One does not have to look very far to see something that will dismay the eyes of an innocent child. Values, the bedrock of society, seems to be termite-eaten and on the verge of a collapse. Our leaders have let us down. We cannot trust most strangers. We cannot even trust ourselves sometimes. In this sea of a seemingly bleak present, what do we have that can save us from ourselves?

God is the only one that can pull us out of this. But He uses us and institutions to rebuild society. One main tool that He uses is education.

A good school teaches a child the tools necessary to survive in this harsh world. One might think that to survive in a harsh terrain, one must harden his/her heart. Not necessarily so. I believe that to survive life, one must have a soft heart, a heart pliant to God’s dealings, in order to change the harsh surroundings into a more humane one.

As mankind careens to a self-destructive acme, a revolution is needed. And I see it starting. This revolution is in the form of education that teaches children to heed God and have the right philosophies and values in life. This is the kind of education that brings people closer to God and thus changes them into beings who effect change and stand firm in the right values, the right outlook, the right lifestyle.

It takes a village to raise a child, they say. It would take the parents and the right kind of education to raise God-fearing great leaders and firm decision-makers who won’t compromise their destiny.

Teach a child to love. To respect his parents. To have self-control. To listen to God in making decisions. To stand firm when tough times come.

Are there educators in this room? You have a heavy burden upon your shoulders. Yours is the responsibility to mold people who will choose principles over convenience and selfish pleasure. Yours is the responsibility to turn society around for God.

You cannot afford to vacillate in your line of work. You yourselves must be founded firmly in time-honored values. Values that are in line with what God says is right. You cannot afford to set the wrong example. You cannot afford to create more chaos in our world.

Instead, join the revolution to fix society for God. Revolutionize the way you think. Love your jobs and love the children you mold. That way you will treat them like your own and imbue them with values you will teach your own children.

As I see this silent revolution welling up in our midst, I no longer see the future as dark and bleak. I see soldiers of valor rising up and taking a stand for the right. I see children helping adults and adults helping one another. I see kindness greeting me everywhere I go. I see an overhaul in society.

This is how important to our very survival values is. The role that good education plays is absolutely vital. So now my question to you is, where will you be in this battle we call life? Will you be hanging with the dregs, or will you be joining the revolution, laying claim to everything decrepit and changing things for God?

The Dawning of a New Era: Philippine Progress Through Education

“…A vitiated and paralytic people has to die to give place to another: young, active, full of energy! …The needful thing is to destroy the evil, to kill the dragon and bathe the new people in their blood, in order to make it strong and invulnerable.”

These are the words of Dr. Jose P. Rizal, as immortalized from the mouth of the passionate character Don Simoun in El Filibusterismo. This statement seems to be the rallying cry of most dissatisfied, discontented and disillusioned youth in our country today. We see them rallying in the streets, railing against our president, whom they blame for everything amiss in our country as of the moment. We see the political parties blaming each other, each doing their share of mud-slinging. And we see the communists calling for bloodshed.

But is this really the answer to our country’s problems? Is bloodshed really a must for a “new breed” to rise? Isn’t there any other answer?

Dr. Jose Rizal advocated education. Passionate as Simoun was in his advocacy for a radical overhaul of the Philippines, in the end, he met a tragic death, with all his plans brought to naught, an implication that for Dr. Rizal, a national overhaul by force is not the answer. What Dr. Rizal does advocate, and was really adamant about, is that education should be the way by which the Philippines should be birthed again. We shall change the nation through giving the youth an education.

But then, to the naked eye, it seems that change through such a process as education is too slow. It seems that it would take eons before the Philippines can get to where it wants to be through this means.

Isn’t it more appealing to the radical mind to just annihilate all the “trapos,” (traditional politicians) the apathetic, the corrupt, the “trash” of society? Isn’t it more appealing to just start from scratch, that way it would be easier to just build a new nation?

The truth is, this is just truly impossible. In the first place, such a scenario was only possible in days bygone, when Pol Pot, Hitler, and the monarchs of old were alive. With all the human rights laws right now, this would never be an option. In the second place, what kind of nation would be built with the seeds of human beings who have “corrected” a grave societal illness with an even graver crime: genocide?

But enough about bloodshed. I’m going back to Dr. Rizal’s assertion that education is the narrow road by which a country such as ours will reach the Promised Land.

Empowerment

For me, nothing takes deeper root in a person’s psyche than what he learns. But I would advocate for more than classroom education. I would go for the kind of education that equips the youth to confront life with passion and conviction, a strength that would not leave room for moral compromise.

My understanding of education is that it should not stop at the level of intellect. It is not just a sum of different facts, observations, and knowledge all blended in a bowl. Not only should it enable the educated to perform more tasks, but at the same breath it should widen his or her horizons. It should open up his vision to a wider perspective and give him the confidence and the motivation to progress.

Vision. Many people can see but it doesn’t mean that they all have vision. Vision is beyond seeing where you’re going. It’s having an internal moral code, a compass to follow. It’s having a purpose to living. It’s knowing where to put your foot in taking the next step, because you have in your mind’s eye the picture of the horizon where you want to get to.

I believe that for this country to progress, we must inculcate in our youth the burning vision of progress for our country. It is a sad truth that our country is populated with youth who want nothing more than to be rich and successful so as they can buy everything they could ever want and live comfortably. We should teach them to see that life means so much more than having the latest gadgets, the latest car models, the prettiest girlfriend or boyfriend, the white picket fence life. We should teach the youth that life is not about “me”. There is so much more to live for than a fat paycheck.

Purpose, strong values and principles are the stuff that makes a firmly directed moral compass. Without purpose, one would not know how to go on. Without strong values to guide one through life, there is nothing to back up purpose when temptations arise and compromise seems to be the next step. Principles are the backbone of the moral compass, and without it, despite purpose, one’s knees would buckle in his trudge to the Promised Land.

These should be the stuff to be taught our youth. From a very young age, our country’s next generation of leaders should be fed with values and principles that will arm them through life. Not that they should be indoctrinated or anything. They should be shown how to adopt principles for themselves, to know the difference between right or wrong from a young age, and to learn how to live beyond just the self.

It is sad that we are known as a country whose people are hindered by crab mentality. When someone talks of great dreams, some of us dismiss it as “too hopeful”, “not realistic”, etc. A sicker version of this is when one shoots down a neighbor simply because the other wants progress for his own family and is taking steps towards that goal. Little do the crab-archers with the barbed arrows with poisoned tips know that they are also shooting themselves with poison. For honestly, our fellowmen’s progress translates to our own progress. Look at today’s dollar rate. Isn’t that because of all our neighbors flocking off abroad in hopes of progress for their families?

I had the opportunity to study in a government-sponsored science high school. It was in this place that I had learned how to spread my wings, so to speak. This school had challenged me, taught me to think for myself, to fend for myself, and taught me how to discern through the gray areas. This school gave me more than the ordinary classroom education, this school was quality education at its finest, with its teaching me how to think for myself.

Sustainable Growth in an Ever Changing World

Our world is evolving at lightning speeds. Growth and development should keep up with the rate of change our world is going through. If we want sustainable development in this world with change rates set at seconds, we cannot solely depend on wealth or external advantages such as political influence. We should rely on our intelligence, our knowledge, and most importantly, our wisdom.

It’s more than knowing the right formulas. It’s knowing how to manipulate and ultimately apply those formulas we have learned in class. It’s more than knowing how to tinker with machines, how to write good pieces, how to make beautiful clothes, how to eradicate the common cold. It’s knowing what all these are for, for whom we’re doing it, and taking pride in knowing that we’re doing all these not only for the satisfaction that achievement brings, but we’re doing this for the advancement of society in general.

Which brings me back to the advancement of the Philippines. I believe that we ought to strive to be as excellent as we can be in our niche. Yes, partly for ourselves, partly for the enjoyment of the pursuit and the satisfaction that achievement brings. But we should be excellent ultimately for the glory and progress of our country, and most ultimately, God.

And so we go back to the grassroots. We cannot produce a country of excellent go-getters imbued with a social conscience if our educational system is, at its core, termite-infested. We should do something about it. We should beef up the educational system.

Yes, I would like to be part of those who would water the seeds of future greatness, the youth, with what I’m talking about here. I want to impart whatever I’ve learned in life to the future of our nation. But that’s not the point. My work will only be a drop in the parched desert if my efforts would be like that of a lone ranger’s.

What I am calling for is that, every Filipino parent must be vigilant in his/her children/s education. Beyond paying for the tuition, beyond bringing the children to and from school, the Filipino parent must be able to impart to his child the principles and values he has lived by. Integrity, patience, love of country; such virtues as to arm the child with in his life. The parents should realize that the ultimate classroom of the child is life in general, and the biggest chunk of that is made up of the home.

It would also help if we do more practical steps, like increasing the teachers’ salaries, so that the ones inspired to teach here would be the cream of the crop, and not the remaining, so sorry to say this, rotten eggs who do not even know how to spell.

Beyond the nitty-gritties of the how-to’s, beyond the road blocks of mudslinging, wrong attitudes, etc., one thing is clear. The road to Philippine progress is through education. There are no buts about it: the overhaul of change will be sparked through education. Education is the mustard seed of a kind of “rebirth from within”.

It’s high time for our country to shape up. It’s more than a romance with the blackboard. It’s time to teach vision. And wisdom. And imparting to our youth the value of purpose and an internal compass. It’s time to overhaul the Philippines. Now.

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